By Thomas Sellers Jr.
One scouting reports on the 2015-16 Brighton Cardinals is to try to shutdown the backcourt of Taeylr Gatlin and Tramaine Cooper.
The Munford Cougars were fully aware of that entering Friday night’s game in the Munford Gymnasium. But Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin knew he had a X-factor from the perimeter in Zach Lewis.
Sharpening his shooting skills in practice and with old playground games, Lewis hit a couple of three-pointers and some timely layups to help Brighton win the game 54-36 over Munford.
“This was how Zach was playing at the beginning of the year,” Gatlin said. “He had a little lowel to where he lost his focus. He got it back.
“I always knew he could shoot the three,” he continued. “I told him, ‘Hey Man if you’re open that the three. Take your time and shoot.’ He wins Knockout all the time. He wins Around the World all the time in practice. He can shoot and I have confidence in his shot all day long.”
After a seesaw first quarter, the Cardinals were ahead 15-12. The second quarter back a slugfest with Brighton outscoring Munford 14-12.
Behind 17-12, Munford tied the game when Queyon Mills hit a three-pointer while drawing a foul. A technical foul was called on the Brighton bench. Mills hit 2 of 3 foul shots to deadlock the contest at 17-17.
Taeylr responded with a jumper to regain the lead for Brighton. Then Lewis hit his first three-pointer to make the score 22-17.
Munford chipped into the Cardinal advantage with a bucket by Deon Banks. Ahead 22-19, Brighton made its lead 5-points again when Colby Butler located Lewis for a layup.
Cougar Alex Jones cut into the Cardinal lead with a three-pointer to make the score 24-22. Cooper had the reply this time hitting a triple of his own.
After Munford senior guard Domonique Bell scored on a put-back bucket the score was 27-24. To close out the first half, Gatlin hit a jumper to put the Cardinals ahead 29-24.
Brighton used a patient approach in the third quarter to maintain its lead. Lewis hit a three-pointer in the period to make the score 32-24.
Gatlin and Cooper closed the final four points of the third period to put Brighton in front 38-30.
In the fourth quarter Brighton’s advantage finally reached 10 points when Gatlin located Lewis with a laser for a bucket to make the score 40-30.
The Cardinals outscored Munford 16-6 in the final period to pull away. Brighton players to score in the fourth quarter were Lewis, Butler, Aaron Alston, and Ethan Bell. The victory kept the Cardinals in first place in District 13-3A.
“They did a good job of not forcing anything, taking good shots and defending well,” Coach Gatlin concluded. “We’re defending very, very well. And we’re taking good, high quality shots. We shot 69 percent from two-point range tonight and 70 from the free throw line. You can’t ask for anything better than that. Maybe 100 percent.”